legend is born... Nikos Georgalis, or Nikos Galis as he became known throughout
Greece and the whole world, was born in New Jersey, USA, on the 23rd July 1957.
The child of a poor immigrant family from Rhodes, Galis was the fourth and last
child, but was destined to become the best.! Boxing becomes basketball... Following
in his father'footsteps, Galis took up boxing in his early years, his father
George Georgalis having been a very good boxer in his youth. Fearful of seeing
him come home with his face covered in blood, his mother, Stella Georgali intervened
to persuade him to take up something else. He didn't find rugby attractive,
so he took up the other most popular sport in the New Jersey neighbourhoods:
basketball. In an interview for the magazine "Triponto" some years
ago he said "In our neighbourhood I would always play the older boys and
beat them. I would rarely lose whether I was playing boys my own age or older!"
Galis in the NCAA So Galis enrolled in Union Hill High School and became a crucial
and irreplaceable player. Important New York colleges began to show an interest
in him, but Galis finally ended up with the Siton Hall Pirates. There he got
the number 11 vest and became a crucial player fairly quickly. But the lack
of other good players prevented Galis' team from reaching any NCCA finals in
the 4 years that he was playing there. In his fourth and final year, Galis,
by now a shooting guard, saw his points average reach 27.5 and his name ranked
third among the leading NCCA scorers, behind the great Larry Bird and Balder.
When he left Siton Hall, his name was on nearly every record scoring list in
the college. Thanks, Mr Manon... In the spring of 1979 Galis realised that the
time had come for him to try and play in the NBA. But this big plan was ruined
by the whims of his manager, Bill Manon, who may have ruined Galis' career but
surely all Greeks are now grateful to him. Bill Manon was the agent of a few
basketball players but mostly actors and artists, etc. Among those was the famous
Diana Ross who had just launched her solo career away from her band "The
Supremes". 'Upside Down' became a big hit and the agent started making
money hand over fist, neglecting his then 22 year old Greek basketball player.
So, from the first round of drafts, Galis found himself in the fourth with the
number 68 and was picked by the Boston Celtics who had already chosen Larry
Bird and wanted Galis just to make up the numbers. Galis tried to stay in the
NBA but at the worst possible moment an injury left him out for 2 weeks and
on his return, he found his place had been taken by Henderson. NBA 0, Greece
1 So he was forced to say goodbye to the NBA, but he would not have believed
it if he had been told that soon after he would become famous in the land of
his forefathers, where, as he admits now, he didn't even know they played basketball.
His present and future... He may now not dance on the basketball courts but
despute that he has two favourite hobbies that he can combin Statments about
(October1983, National team of Greece Vs North Carolina State University
for the "Dimitria" tournament): "I did not expect to find such
a good offensive player in Europe, especially in your country."
" I'd love to play in the same team with him so I can pass the ball
to him to score!" Arvidas Sabonis: "I have the feeling that if Gallis
wants to score a basket, he will score, no matter what the opponent does.
He is always determined to succeed."
"I've seen Galis doing things that I have not seen neither Lakers nor
"The man is a computer! He knows what, when, how and why he does what
he does. I have not seen such self respect to a player before. He can , if
he is certain, to take a shot from the centre of the court, having five players
over him, despite a team mate of his being unguarded under the opponent's
basket. If I had him next to me in AEK, there would be decades before we taste
"I have seen a lot of big players in my life, but what Galis did today
(1987-88', Barselona - Aris) only by 2-3 players in the hall world can be